Fodor's Expert Review Boston Common

Beacon Hill and Boston Common City Park
Free Fodor's Choice

Nothing is more central to the city than Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States and undoubtedly the largest and most famous of the town commons around which New England settlements were traditionally arranged. Dating from 1634, the Common started as 50 acres where freemen could graze their cattle. (Cows were banned in 1830.) Don't confuse the Common with its sister park, the Public Garden, where the Swan Boats glide and flowers bloom three seasons of the year.

On its Tremont Street side, State House employees, downtown professionals, and tourists gather to take a break and enjoy lunch at one of food trucks parked (April through October) at the Brewer Fountain Plaza. A few steps away, The Freedom Trail starts in front of the Boston Common Visitor Information Center. The Common's highest point, near the Parkman Bandstand, was once called Flagstaff Hill and is now surmounted by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring Civil War troops. The Common's only body... READ MORE

Nothing is more central to the city than Boston Common, the oldest public park in the United States and undoubtedly the largest and most famous of the town commons around which New England settlements were traditionally arranged. Dating from 1634, the Common started as 50 acres where freemen could graze their cattle. (Cows were banned in 1830.) Don't confuse the Common with its sister park, the Public Garden, where the Swan Boats glide and flowers bloom three seasons of the year.

On its Tremont Street side, State House employees, downtown professionals, and tourists gather to take a break and enjoy lunch at one of food trucks parked (April through October) at the Brewer Fountain Plaza. A few steps away, The Freedom Trail starts in front of the Boston Common Visitor Information Center. The Common's highest point, near the Parkman Bandstand, was once called Flagstaff Hill and is now surmounted by the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, honoring Civil War troops. The Common's only body of water is the Frog Pond, a tame and frog-free concrete depression used as a wading pool and spray fountain during summer and for ice-skating in winter.

Central Burying Ground lends the park an eerie vibe at its site on Boylston Street; in fact, the Common boasts a fair amount of haunted history. Across from the State House, on the Beacon Street side, sits the splendidly restored Robert Gould Shaw 54th Regiment Memorial, executed in deep-relief bronze by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in 1897. This is Freedom Trail stop 1.

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Quick Facts

Bounded by Beacon, Charles, Tremont, and Park Sts.
Boston, Massachusetts  02108, USA

www.boston.gov/parks/boston-common

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